Responding to the publication on 6 April 2023 of the UK Government’s alternative plan to full participation in Horizon Europe, the Academy of Social Sciences has argued that the proposals are no substitute for sustained association.
If adopted, the Pioneer programme would run until 2028 and receive £14.6bn in funding currently earmarked for Horizon. The UK Government has said that the long-term programme would be established “as quickly as possible if needed”, and that it would undertake “intensive engagement with researchers and businesses to determine priorities for a programme that would help to build on UK strengths and develop new capabilities while distributing resource and support for the sector across the country, in line with the levelling up agenda”.
Whilst welcoming the opportunity to scrutinise the plans, the Chief Executive of the Academy of Social Sciences, Rita Gardner, said:
“We understand that the UK Government needs, from a negotiating point of view, to be seen to be keeping its options open. But as an Academy we are totally clear that whatever the benefits of the mooted Pioneer programme, it is no substitute for sustained association to Horizon Europe. This is particularly true given that historically, Horizon has more fully reflected the value of the social sciences. We are determined that the UK retains its world-leading social science research base, which proved invaluable in tackling COVID and will be essential in taking on major societal challenges around climate change, levelling up and economic growth.”